In some good news for Transnet as well as the road freight and shipping industry, Transnet Port Terminal’s (TPT) vital Navis container terminal operating system reportedly came back online late on Tuesday.
This is according to a notice sent to clients – titled ‘DBN Terminal Navis Customer Link Update’.
While the letter is related to the Pier 1 and Pier 2 container terminals in Durban, sub Saharan Africa’s busiest container port, the announcement most likely means that Navis is back online nationally.
The Navis system coming back online follows a group-wide cyber-attack which hit Transnet last Thursday.
The hacking forced the state-run ports and logistics giant to switch off its Navis container terminal operating system.
Navis coming back online means that trucking companies no longer have to use Transnet’s stopgap manual booking system to enter the Port of Durban as well as the Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura (Eastern Cape) ports.
“We are extremely delighted to inform you that the Navis customer links and Camco [the container terminal autogate system] is now fully operational,” TPT (Transnet’s container terminals division) states in the notice sent to clients on Tuesday.
It however adds that another “customer-facing function” – dubbed “EDI” is not operational but “mitigation plans are in place for business continuity”.
With the Navis system back online, TPT further points out: “The interim business continuity plan … for Pier 1 and 2 will be deactivated with immediate effect. All transactions that have been captured on behalf of customers will remain in the system. Users can start transacting on Navis as normal with immediate effect.”
It says appointment slots are currently available.
“We are cognisant that transporters are currently in the terminals; these transporters will be serviced until the traffic has been cleared. From 06h00 [on] July 28, 2021 all stakeholders are expected to fully utilise the Navis system and the mandatory appointment system will be reinstated,” TPT adds.
Durban Container Terminals – The volume of containers in and out of the port has increased as the supply chain starts working again pic.twitter.com/1qZE5cj8fU
— Transnet SOC Ltd (@follow_transnet) July 27, 2021
“The export stack dates and import storage will be communicated in due course … Emails are not operational yet, [but] terminals will continue to communicate via text messages and [via] TPTDCTKAMS@gmail.com until further notice,” it notes.
“TPT can confirm that all storage charges have ceased with effect from July 22, 2021. TPT will continue granting these extensions on a 24-hour notice basis,” the division adds.
While Transnet at group level is yet to issue a statement on the latest development, the fact that Navis is back online will be welcomed by the road freight and shipping industry.
Economist Mike Schüssler however cautions that “there will still be delays and backlogs to get through”.
Speaking to Moneyweb on Wednesday, he also questioned if TPT’s force majeure is still in place.
Moneyweb understands that Navis was switched off as a precautionary measure, with Transnet group trying to locate the source of the cyber-attack last week.
Transnet said on Friday that it had “identified and isolated the source of the disruption to its IT systems” – but it has not revealed any further details yet on the culprit.
The group noted in a statement on Tuesday morning that ‘significant progress has been made in restoring Transnet IT systems’.
Despite this, the group’s main website as well as those of its divisions were still offline when Moneyweb checked on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, the US-based Navis cargo software group has issued a statement to Moneyweb clarifying the issue from its side.
“Navis is aware of the situation at Transnet and is in close contact with the Transnet team as they work to identify and isolate the cause of the disruption and restore operations,” it said.
“While the source of the disruption is not related to Navis, as a precautionary measure Transnet shut down all systems, including the servers running the N4 terminal application,” the company added.
Listen to Fifi Peters’ interview with Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association, on TPT’s force majeure: